Famous Nikola Rolling Down The Hill Video Will Be Part Of Trevor Milton Trial

Zinger Key Points
  • Nikola founder and former CEO Trevor Milton faces fraud charges in a trial set to begin next week.
  • A video that shows a Nikola prototype vehicle could be a key piece of evidence.

A video of a truck from Nikola Corp NKLA became the talk of the financial world after a short report questioned if the truck was actually driving. Nikola later admitted the truck was rolling downhill.

The famous video will be a piece of evidence in the upcoming trial of the founder and former CEO of Nikola.

What Happened: A fraud trial against Nikola founder and former CEO Trevor Milton will see the video of the Nikola One prototype truck played before jurors on the case.

Jury selection for the fraud trial is scheduled to begin on Monday with the full trial expected to last up to five weeks, according to Reuters. Milton is charged with creating false claims for Nikola on several lines of business.

The video could be a key piece of evidence as prosecutors have argued that Milton misled investors when he knew the prototype didn’t work. The prosecutors said Milton showed Nikola had early success in the Nikola One semi-truck when the video didn’t feature a working prototype.

Bradley Bondi, Milton’s lawyer, wanted to have the video thrown out as it was filmed before items from the fraud case started. The lawyer also argued that Milton admitted the truck did not operate under its own power.

“They want to bring it in because they want to inflame the jury,” Bondi said.

Bondi previously served as part of Tesla Inc TSLA CEO Elon Musk’s legal team in a complaint by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) over a tweet to take the company private. Musk’s legal team was able to negotiate a settlement.

The judge called the video “direct evidence” for the charges against the Nikola founder.

Milton has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Nikola paid $125 million in charges that it misled investors from the SEC. The company did not admit to wrongdoing with the settlement.

Related Link: Nikola Names Michael Lohscheller As CEO 

Why It’s Important: Milton stepped down from the CEO role of Nikola and sold a portion of his company shares last year as the charges were filed.

But recently, Milton purchased three million shares of Nikola stock for $17.4 million. The purchase came after selling stakes of $16 million, $11.7 million and $3.3 million in August, November and December of 2021, respectively.

The new purchase marked the first by Milton since the company went public in 2020 and could show a belief in the turnaround of the company. Milton owns more than 10% of the company with more than 51 million shares held.

Outside of Milton, Nikola had put focus on its Nikola Tre trucks and continued to guide the production of 300 to 500 units by the end of the year. The company reported second-quarter revenue of $18.13 million, which beat Street estimates.

The company also recently announced that its current CEO Mark Russell was retiring and to be replaced by Michael Lohscheller, who joined Nikola in February 2022 and was formerly the CEO of Opel.

Nikola also announced in August that it was buying battery company Romeo Power Inc RMO

NKLA Price Action: Nikola shares are up 1.26% To $5.32 on Friday. Shares have traded between $4.42 and $15.56 over the last 52 weeks.

Photo: Nikola Tre BEV truck courtesy Nikola/Trevor Milton, photo by Hans Andreas Starheim/ZERO via Flickr Creative Commons (photo is cropped). 


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